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Snitch!: A History of the Modern Intelligence Informer Paperback – 1 Apr 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441190074
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441190079
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.7 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 613,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'This important study aims at a 'broad, international and accessible survey' that places informers in the context of their times and places.'--Sanford Lakoff

About the Author

Dr Steve Hewitt is an expert on security and intelligence and Senior Lecturer in the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Birmingham. Among the courses he teaches are a history of American intelligence, including the Central Intelligence Agency. Steve Hewitt regularly appears on television and radio commenting on issues of terrorism and security.


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Oswald on 13 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting historical overview of the intelligence informer, tracing the roots of the practice of snitching and its contemporary manifestation. In terms of the motivation to inform, it seems not much has changed since the days of the Roman Empire.

What the book makes clear, is that snitching and informing are much more prevalent than we think, as is the scope of who is affected by it. The author himself claims to have been a victim of the practice. The book explores not only the role of informers as information gatherers, but also their role as agent provocateurs, an aspect which has gained much prominence since the beginning of the war on terror. Informers acting as agent provocateurs are now supplying the plan, training, targets, weapons, significant monetary incentives and above all pressure on their victims to commit acts of terror, only for them to be arrested shortly after.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the impact and aims surrounding informing and informers in the modern context of vast organized bureaucratic intelligence empires, Sandra Spiegel-Schliemann's book "Zersetzen: Strategie einer Diktatur," provides a valuable and comprehensive account of the practice within the former GDR. Unfortunately it is available only in German. But the gist of her analysis of former Stasi documents breaks down as follows: "The acts of informers need to be viewed within the totality of an overall strategy by the secret services and their collaborating institutions and individuals in order to appreciate the destructive impact they produce in the groups and individuals that fall victim to them." This is as much true today as it was true then, perhaps even more so!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Better than Expected 5 May 2011
By LVT06 - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not another compendium of rehashed centuries-old spy, rat and tout tales. It is a well-researched and engagingly written survey of source operations in intelligence and law enforcement. What is even more refreshing is that the book is relevant to 21st Century operations. Rather than relying on training manual definitions and trite examples from the ancient world or 19th Century wars, the author exploits engaging case studies to highlight modern practices. A great, practical addition to the typically hit-and-miss tradition of intrigue books.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Has America Lost Control ????? 10 Jun. 2013
By whangcommunicationproduction - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Have we become a country not unlike the Cold War countries of the pass, USSR, East Germany?
Citizen vs Citizen in order to maintain a balance life style. Mr. Hewitt present a questionable picture of our future. Recent attacks on media by government officials in the Justice Department bring more questions to the table, has the citizens of this country finally lost control.
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